Let the Achievement Hunt Continue
Following the proven popularity and success of Microsoft's Xbox achievements system, the Steam achievements system was introduced with the launch of The Orange Box in late 2007. Achievements were made available to developers via Steamworks around the same time, but Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Portal, and Team Fortress 2 were the first games to include them. Since then, the achievement system has grown in popularity, and a majority of Steam's library uses the system, although it is not mandatory.
Unlike Microsoft's achievements system, the Steam achievements have no associated point score attached to them. Valve, the developer behind both Steam and The Orange Box, have stated that the reason behind this is that achievements are available for mod-makers as well. It would be possible for a random mod-maker to create a mod that awards the players with a huge amount of points, which would render the whole system pointless. Literally. The first mod to include Steam achievement was D.I.P.R.I.P Warm Up.
Another reason why the achievements have no associated points is that Valve sees achievements as a way to enhance replayability, by incentivizing players to play game patches upon release. This can be seen in Team Fortress 2, which launched with 17 achievements, a number which has since grown to 520 due to game updates. As well, since each class has its own set of achievements, players are encouraged to switch classes regularly.
As Steam has expanded its user profile system, Valve has added a number of ways for users to display their achievements to the world, including via "showcases" which automatically display a user's rarest achievements, or which display achievements of the user's choice.
Steam users have two main venues to see the rarity of their achievements and to see which achievements they have yet to unlock:
- Stats for various games can be reached at the official site.
- Users can see stats for games they have played by accessing the game's page in their library, or by visiting their own profile.